Uses of verbs of motion

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Imperfective Perfective
1. Regular trips to/from a place

Мы ходим в церковь каждое воскресенье.
We go to church every Sunday.

Мы ездим в Киев каждое лето.
We go to Kiev every summer.

2. A single round trip in the past

Вчера я ходил в библиотеку.
Yesterday I went to the library (and back).

Вчера я ездил на почту.
Yesterday I went to the post office (and back).

3. Random motion (по + dative)

Мы ходили по парку.
We walked around the park.

Мы ездили по городу.
We drove around the city.

4. To be capable of the activity, to habitually do the activity

Мой сын уже ходит.
My son can already walk.

Страусы бегают, а голуби летают.
Ostriches run, and doves fly.

Мама научилась плавать в детстве.
Mom learned how to swim when she was a child.

5. When mentioning a trip as a whole:

Когда я ездил в Нью-Йорк, я посетил музей Метрополитен.
When I went to New York, I visited the Metropolitan Museum.

Когда я ходил на дискотеку, я познакомилась с красивой девушкой.
When I went to the disco, I met a pretty girl.


If the English translation contains a frequency phrase, usually you want a multidirectional verb. Frequency phrases include: всегда, часто, иногда, редко, никогда, каждый phrases, and «per» phrases.

If the English translation runs “Have you ever gone to…” or “Yes, I have gone to…”, then you want an indeterminate verb.

— Ты когда-нибудь летал в Париж?
— Да, летал.
“Have you ever gone to Paris?”
“Yes, I have.”

If you are expressing love of or hate of a mode of transport, usually you use a multidirectional verb.

Бабушка боится летать.
Grandma is afraid to fly.

Мой брат любить бегать.
My brother loves to run.

1. Motion in progress toward a goal, “on the way”, on a particular occasion

— Куда ты идёшь?
— Я иду домой.
“Where are you going?”
“I'm going home.”

— Куда ты едешь?
— Я еду на работу.
“Where are you going?”
“I'm going to work.”

Вчера, когда я шёл на работу, я купил мороженое.
Yesterday when I was on my way to work, I bought ice cream.

2. Describing motion “on the way”, on multiple occasions

Когда мы с Ниной ехали на работу, мы всегда обсуждали последний выпуск телесериала «Санты Барбары».
Whenever Nina and I were riding to work, we always discussed the latest episode of “Santa Barbara.”

In these types of sentences, когда “when” can be replaced with пока “while” in essentially the same meaning.

3. Intent of motion in immediate future

Я завтра иду в кино.
I'm going to the movies tomorrow.


If the English translation contains an “-ing” phrase, you usually want a unidirectional verb.

If the English translation is the equivalent of “there goes a…” or “here comes the…”, then use the determinate verb.

— Вон летит самолёт!
“There goes an airplane!”

— Вон плывёт кит!
“There goes a whale!”

If you mention how long a trip takes, you can use a unidirectional verb. The English translation of the sentences usually sounds like a completed action, but since we are commenting on the process of the travel, it's an imperfective verb in Russian.

— Мы будем лететь из Чикаго во Франкфурт восемь часов.
“It will take us eight hours to fly from Chicago to Frankfurt.”

— Мы два часа ехали из Финикса в Тусон.
“It took us two hours to drive from Phoenix to Tucson.”

1. “has gone to” — in this meaning of the verb we don't actually know whether the person has arrived yet at the destination or not.

— Где мама?
— Она пошла в магазин.
“Where is Mom?”
“She has gone to the store.”

2. To go somewhere and arrive. When you use this form, you usually say what happened after you arrived.

Я поехал в магазин, купил хлеб, позвонил сестре, и вернулся домой.
I went to the store, bought bread, called my sister, and then returned home.

3. Each leg of a multileg trip is described by a perfective verb.

— Что ты завтра будешь делать?
— Я пойду к тёте. Потом я пойду в библиотеку. Потом я пойду в аптеку. Потом я пойду домой.
“What will you do tomorrow?”
“I will go to my aunt's place. Then I will go to the library. Then I will go to the pharmacy. Then I will go home.”

4. Intent of future motion

— Что ты завтра будешь делать?
— Я пойду к тёте.
“What will you do tomorrow?”
“I will go to my aunt's place.”

— Что ты завтра будешь делать?
— Я поеду в Петербург.
“What will you do tomorrow??”
“I will go to St. Petersburg.”

Last modified 6:28 AM 9/17/2015